I was born and brought up in England; the land of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen. I grew up in the beautiful historic city of Canterbury, and was surrounded by literature, art and music as I became an adult. Beyond anything else, my love of words and books was encouraged by my family and my teachers, and so it almost became inevitable that I would become an author myself.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I am a third year student at the University of York, reading History and English. I have finally finished my first novel, a historical romance set just after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was a challenge to write - my specialisation in medieval history gave me much of the background, but it was a real emotional journey. Was I good enough to write a book? Would anyone even want to read it?
It's now two years, later, and not only has my book been published and read by over 11,000 people...but I'm living over 11,000 miles from my home.
My husband is a trainee pilot, and part of his training involves about nine months of training in Hamilton, New Zealand. I have been here for just over a week, and I am already trying to acclimatise to the blistering temperatures, new currency, and slightly confusing accents. But what I'm finding most difficult at the moment is writing.
I really wanted to take the opportunity whilst I was miles and miles from my friends, family, and financial commitments to be 'an author' as a full-time job. When would I ever get the chance again to write all day, and then have barbeques in the evenings? But suddenly, and without any warning, all of my motivation to write has disappeared.
In some ways, I guess I could blame the strangeness of the land that I'm living in. The heat can be oppressive, and I've spent quite a bit of time trying to sort out the administrative nonsense that comes with ripping your life out of one place and transplanting it in another; bank cards, car insurance, finding the nearest supermarket...
Instead of my previous life, when the hardest decision in the day was whether to have pudding after my supper or not, my new life feels slightly off-kilter. Once I've replied to about a hundred emails, finally worked out how the laundrette works, and cracked how to send an online transfer with my New Zealand bank account, the last thing that I want to do is sit down and through the emotional turmoil that I'm putting a character through.
My inspiration has also been pulled out from underneath my feet. I have only ever lived in cities that have their origins in Roman settlement, and have been major political, social and religious centres up to the present day. The times that I write about - from around the 11th to the 15th centuries - are all around me. Here in New Zealand, a building is considered ridiculously old if it is more than 150 years old.
Life often brings up smallnesses and nothings to distract us from what we love. As writers, the smallest thing can push us into a bad mood that can rub off on our writing. Being an itinerant author without an address can make even the small things takeover an entire day, and before you know it you haven't written for weeks.
So what is my advice for you - whether you are a writer that's never crossed a border, one that's just left home, or one that as been living without any home comforts for a while? For me, it's simple: make home where you are, and stick to a good solid routine. Personally, I've brought with me some of my favourite books and (don't judge me) my childhood teddy bear. They make me feel safe, and if I ever sink into a hole of 'I'll never write again', they are always able to pull me out. Now that - I hope! - everything major is organised, I've created a schedule that I will be able to stick to, but should also keep me focused for at least five hours a day.
Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. Being an author without an address certainly gives me experiences of a different land and culture that I could never have expected or imagined. And you never know: maybe one day I'll write a bestseller about an author who moved to the other side of the world...
Emily Murdoch's book Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms can be bought here: https://tinyurl.com/
k8za6xu. Her own writing blog can be read here: www.emilyekmurdoch.blogspot. co.uk and you can follow her on twitter @emilyekmurdoch.
Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms
by Emily Murdoch.
'Conquests' is a brilliantly researched and involving historical drama that is perfect for fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.
'It gripped me from the first page.' - Robert Foster, best-selling author of 'The Lunar Code'.
Buy here: viewBook.at/conquests